Community News Update - October 18, 2021

Dear Community,
 
Today, Ontario reported another 373 cases of COVID-19, with 62 of those new cases here in Toronto. Our vaccination rate continues to slowly climb upwards, and now 83.2% of eligible Ontarians have received two shots of a vaccine.
 
One keyword in the sentence above is ‘eligible’, and the restrictions on who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine could be changing soon, as Pfizer has now officially asked Health Canada to approve the use of its vaccine in children aged five to eleven years old. If approval is granted, health units across our country will be immediately moving to begin delivering doses to this new age group.
 
So will their vaccine be the same? Yes and no.
 
The contents of the vaccines are the same, but the dosage will be about one-third the size of the shots being given to everyone 12 and up. The request from Pfizer for approval from Health Canada comes just a week after they filed for a similar approval in the United States, with the Food and Drug Administration.
 
We don’t know yet exactly how long Health Canada will take to make their decision on this application from Pfizer, but when that news is available, I will be sure to include it in a subsequent Community News Update.
 
It has now been a few days since the new QR code system has been introduced in Ontario and starting today anyone is able to download their own unique QR-code to confirm their vaccination status at this link.
 
This morning I was back in the Legislature and delivered a Member’s Statement – about the nurse shortage that’s currently affecting our schools.

Because we’ve seen nursing staff levels cut, time and time again in Ontario by Liberal and Conservative governments, we are now not able to have adequate staffing levels of these vital health care workers in our schools. That means that children who have complex medical needs, are not being forced to stay out of the classroom – missing out on their education.
 
I’m calling on the Ford government to deliver the funding that we need to make sure that every child in Ontario gets access to a proper education, regardless of the medical challenges they might be facing.
 
You can watch my full Member’s Statement here.
 
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen the stark differences in quality of care between public and private long-term care facilities. According to the government’s own Science table, for-profit long-term care homes had twice as many COVID infections and 78 per cent more deaths than non-profit and public homes.
 
What did the Conservative government do in response? Ford passed legislation to protect long-term care corporations from lawsuits.
 
Our response, and as part of our upcoming election platform, the Ontario NDP has made it clear that we will end for-profit long-term care in our province – once and for all.
 
To that end, today at Queen’s Park, we forced a vote to stop Doug Ford from giving new or renewed licenses to the for-profit long-term care corporations that failed their residents during COVID-19. Sadly, our motion did not pass, with the Ford government using its majority to vote it down.

Regardless of today’s result, I will not relent in my efforts to fix long-term care in Ontario – we must end for-profit long-term care.
 
Coming up this Sunday, September 24 at noon, I’m excited to announce that I will be hosting a Day of Action on Education.

We will be gathering at the Wychwood Barns for a briefing on the issues facing the education sector right now, and then we’ll be heading out in the community to canvass our neighbours to talk about the issue as well.

If you’ve never canvassed before – not to worry – we’ll have experts on hand to train you.
 
If you’re interested in joining us, you can sign up here.

In Solidarity,
 
Jill Andrew
Toronto—St. Paul's

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